Journal Archive > 2001 > October

Critical Thinking

Faculty receive funding to promote critical thinking

The Critical Thinking Program has awarded funding to eight faculty members to support the development of innovative courses that promote undergraduates’ reasoning and analytic abilities.

The support is offered as an incentive for faculty to explore strategies for teaching their subject matter in ways that incorporate the explicit teaching of thinking skills. The following are the 2001 award recipients and brief descriptions of their projects:

Astier Almedom (biology and nutrition): A new course, “Mental Well-Being and Social Capital: Any Missing Links?” will engage students in close analyses of mental health policy and practice in relation to research evidence in the areas of public health, epidemiology, community medicine and anthropology.

Laurie Baise (civil and environmental engineering): “Engineering Geology” is a new course that introduces the engineering issues related to geologic environments as well as the quantitative tools needed by the engineering geologist. The course emphasizes relevant thinking skills and encourages active learning.

Daniela Bartalesi-Graf (Romance languages): A revision of “Intermediate Italian II: Recent Italian History and Contemporary Issues” completes the revision of the Italian 1-4 curriculum. Through the study of readings and films, the revised course will focus on post-World War II Italian society.

Hazel Bright (English): A revision of “English 2: The African American Presence” takes a careful look at a central debate within and about the African American community—integration versus separation from Reconstruction to the present—incorporating analysis of literature and music.

Karen Duca (chemical and biological engineering): A revision of the seminar “Topics in Biotechnology” will be structured as a workshop that teaches the skills required for successful scientific research through the careful examination of papers, various exercises and illustrations and student presentations.

Lewis Edgers (civil and environmental engineering): “CEE 42, Topics in Geotechnical Engineering” introduces students to the concepts, methods and technologies used to assess the engineering behavior of soils and incorporates an in-depth study of the case of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Ross Feldberg (biology): “Biology 97, Contemporary Problems in America” is a new course that explores ethical and political dimensions of biological knowledge. The human genome project and gender issues are among the topics.

Charlene Galarneau (community health): A revision of “Health, Ethics and Policy,” an exploration of the ethical dimensions of public health policy and practice, incorporates writing and reading assignments and class debate that promote careful thought about ethical issues.